Top NFL Player Props for Super Bowl 58 Include Picks for Christian McCaffrey and Isiah Pacheco

The NFL Super Bowl player props rely on you telling a story and committing -- where do the numbers suggest going for the star running backs?

It’s that time of year. One of the best gambling events of the year is nearing, and with that, there is no shortage of NFL Super Bowl player props to consider.

Due to the volume of bets that come in for the big game, the lines are sharper this week than any other during the season. Bookmakers have just one game to focus on, and as the action comes in, they can adjust with the betting market and create as efficient a market as you’ll see.

With that in mind, you have to be willing to work just as hard as them if you want to gain even the slightest of edges.

We will be touching on all of the prop markets over the next week — today, we are deep-diving into the running back position, one that is devalued in the NFL as a whole but figures to hold significant value on Super Sunday.

NFL Super Bowl Player Props for Christian McCaffrey and Isiah Pacheco

There are more than half-a-dozen props featuring these two-star running backs, but before we dive into what is statistically most likely to occur in the final game of the season, it’s important to have the context that we have been given.

Regular-Season Per-Game RB Ranks

Christian McCaffrey

  • Touches: 2nd (21.2)
  • Scrimmage Yards: 1st (126.4)
  • Rush Yards: 2nd (91.2)
  • Targets: 4th (5.2)
  • Receptions: 3rd (4.2)
  • Receiving Yards: 2nd (35.3)
  • Scrimmage TDs: 2nd (1.3)

Isiah Pacheco

  • Touches: 13th (17.8)
  • Scrimmage Yards: 14th (84.2)
  • Rush Yards: 10th (66.8)
  • Targets: 22nd (3.5)
  • Receptions: 12th (3.1)
  • Receiving Yards: 24th (17.4)
  • Scrimmage TDs: 14th (0.6)

As good as these backs were during the regular season, they’ve been better during the playoffs. McCaffrey and Pacheco have combined to play five games this postseason, and in each of those games, they’ve cleared 80 total yards and found the end zone.

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The running back position as a whole isn’t valued in dollars and cents, though these two are capable of playing as big a role as anyone in the Super Bowl.

Postseason Production

McCaffrey (two games)

  • Touches: 48
  • Scrimmage Yards: 260
  • Rush Yards: 188
  • Targets: 17
  • Receptions: 11
  • Receiving Yards: 72
  • Scrimmage TDs: 4

Pacheco (three games)

  • Touches: 69
  • Scrimmage Yards: 281
  • Rush Yards: 254
  • Targets: 6
  • Receptions: 6
  • Receiving Yards: 27
  • Scrimmage TDs: 3

With that background knowledge, it’s time to get into the weeds. The beginning of my pro-Pacheco case is posted along with three others in terms of my initial betting card for the Super Bowl:

How does Pacheco get to his rushing total? Volume is a good bet, but I don’t think it’s necessarily needed.

This season, 73.8% of running back yards on the ground against the 49ers come after contact, the fifth-highest rate in the sport. As mentioned in the piece above, the numbers back up what your eyes tell you — tackling Pacheco doesn’t get easier with time.

In 2023, 81.8% of Pacheco’s 16+ yard runs have seen him pick up at least 10 yards after contact. He runs as hard as anyone in the game, and that makes his longest rush a reasonable target in this matchup at face value — but wait, there’s more!

Chiefs Running Backs

  • Weeks 1-10: 1.01 yards per carry before contact
  • Since: 1.52 yards per carry before contact (+50.5%)

As you can see, my angle on Pacheco is that of a successful one on the ground. If that’s going to be the case, the likelihood of him thriving in the pass game drops: only once this season has he caught 4+ passes in a game in which he ran for 70 yards.

Investigate further, and you’ll be more convinced that volume in the passing game is unlikely. The spread and lack of movement on it tells us that everyone involved with handicapping this game views it as evenly matched. Take whatever side you’d like, but the perception is that this is destined to be a one-score game. This season…

  • Pacheco in one-score games: targeted on 15% of routes
  • Pacheco otherwise: targeted on 20% of routes

If you prefer more of a narrative-based angle than that of sheer usage trends, worry not, I have you covered. This season, Pacheco has gone over 3.5 receptions in four of five divisional games and just three of 12 games played outside of the AFC West.

In a similar vein, Rashee Rice’s average depth of target is 23.5% out-of-division – these common opponents are more familiar with player strengths and try to make them beat them differently.

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Pacheco has improved in a significant way as a pass catcher, and that growth is critical to the Chiefs’ offense.

That said, I’m willing to stand in front of a number that is being handicapped essentially based on his season data (4+ catches in 41.2% of catches, and his implied probability is 39.7% at the listed price on FanDuel), understanding that this matchup is less favorable and that his 89.8% catch rate is more of a ceiling than a projectable outcome.

The McCaffrey side of the betting card is lean for me. His versatility makes him a tough player to bet on or against. He can impact the game in a variety of ways, and how the 49ers adjust to what the Chiefs are doing on defense will play into that, as will the game script.

Both of those impacting factors are nearly impossible to project with confidence ahead of time.

Against a pressure-heavy Kansas City defense, CMC’s role in the passing game is likely to serve as San Francisco’s best way to keep them honest. If that proves true, the rushing count could be capped, a line of thought that aligns nicely with my takes on Brock Purdy.

For the season, McCaffrey averages 17.2 carries per game. That number drops to 17.0 in games this season that closed with a projected total north of 45 points and again to 16.9 when evaluating his last 10 contests with a spread of fewer than five points. He has cleared 18.5 carries seven times this season – four times in the first month of the season and just twice since.

Super Bowl Betting Card

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